Breaking It Down with Brandon Babbitt
I want to thank everyone in the Local Hub Bicycle Company community for welcoming me into their space! While I’ve connected with some of you out there from other cycling circles and I’ve recently met more in the first few weeks with Local Hub, I am looking forward to meeting you all as your friendly neighborhood mechanic.
I found my way to cycling in Denton from the bicycle coop space, Querencia Community Bike Shop and the local bike polo group. It was seven years ago on the side of the court between polo matches that I remember asking my friend Curry how to use a chainbreaker. I had an old Diamondback mountain bike, and I wanted to strip the shifters and derailleurs off to have a true single speed polo bike. And we all worked on it, then and there to do a makeshift single speed conversion on this bike, striping extraneous parts, picking one gear on the freewheel cluster and tightening the chain back down on that gear with the chainbreaker. That was the first bike-specific tool I learned how to use, and it was shared freely with me from that understanding that knowledge should be freely shared. I took that and pedaled! I showed every new face at Querencia how to properly use a chainbreaker. Already, if you’ve had the time to stick around to see me work at Local Hub, I love to share and show people what I’m doing. A teaching shop is my home, my ethos. I want to help demystify the bike. There are very few specialized tools or techniques needed to do repairs at home. And I’m hoping to bring that to you all.
I’ll be honest, I’m still learning every day. Just the other day, Kristie was talking to me about clutched rear derailleurs. I stopped and asked, “What is that?” I’m more of an old-world mechanic, and some of the newer trends slip past me. Lefty forks: why would you want only half a fork? Di2 electric shifters: what are these magic pixies doing to my derailleurs? 1x’s on everything: but how does your chain not fall off your chainring without a front derailleur? But as I keep learning, I’m going to keep sharing here. Interesting bicycle tidbits, must know mechanical trends, and head-scratchers solved—all here! Stay tuned as we demystify your bike.
(Oh, and if you’re as curious about the clutched rear derailleurs as I was, it’s a system in some newer rear derailleurs to add frictional tension to the pivot point on the rear derailleur to take up some of the slack/slop in the chain on 1x systems! Look for a lever attached to the outside of the guide pulley on your rear derailleur.)